Pearce: Brazil the gold standard
July 21, 2012 06:16 am
Team GB boss Stuart Pearce believes any side which beats Brazil is likely to claim gold at the Olympic Games.
Pearce saw his men beaten 2-0 by the South Americans at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium but he always expected a tough encounter and is confident there is more to come from GB before they launch their campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford next Thursday.
However, he admits the Brazilians have set the standards for a competition in which the British men's team has not played since 1960. Pearce said: "They are an outstanding side and favourites for the tournament, and you can see why."
He added: We understand the magnitude of the task in the Olympics. Whoever is going to beat them will probably have a gold medal, I would think.
"But we will draw the positives out of the game. We need to make sure we come to the boil next Thursday and beyond, and unless we play Brazil again, we might not play a side as strong as that."
Britain fell behind after just 12 minutes when Tottenham midfielder Sandro headed home the impressive Neymar's free-kick, and the 20-year-old Santos striker added the second from the penalty spot 10 minutes before the break after Hulk had been tripped by Micah Richards.
But Pearce's men, who have only been together for two weeks, were well beaten by Mano Menezes' well-drilled and supremely talented outfit, and but for poor finishing and the efforts of keepers Jason Steele and Jack Butland, who played a half each, they would have won far more comfortably.
Pearce said: "It was a real learning curve for us this evening. We thought it would be a tough game, it was. It didn't help that we gave two cheapish goals away, but we have to learn by it, prepare and get ready for Thursday."
Butland's performance after the break, which included fine late saves from Neymar and substitute Alexandre Pato, came as no surprise to Pearce, who saw his potential at close hand during last summer's World Under-20s Championships in Colombia.
He said: "He's an outstanding goalkeeper. He will be a great talent. I took Joe Hart to Manchester City when he was at a similar age, and this kid is up there with him. I look forward to the pair of them challenging each other for years to come. All he needs is the experience. His attitude and confidence, he is way above his years."
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